And the #Deflategate saga has finally ended. After months of pointless palaver about deflated balls, missing cell phones, & awkward sketch drawings; U.S. district court judge Richard Berman decides to overturn Tom Brady’s 4-game suspension. In May Tom Brady was suspended by the NFL for allegedly being involved with the deflation of footballs used in the AFC Championship game against the Indianapolis Colts. A game in which the Patriots easily destroyed the Colts 45-7. Although Judge Berman had made multiple requests for the NFL & Tom Brady to settle this amongst themselves neither party would budge. It was indicated that the NFL were willing to reduce Brady’s suspension if he admitted to wrongdoing. However the NFL was unable to provide the Judge any concrete evidence suggesting Brady had any involvement with the infamous deflated balls. Furthermore, Judge Berman also was not convinced that the deflation of the footballs actually gave Tom Brady & the Patriots a competitive advantage. After all it’s going to take more than some deflated balls to beat a team by 38 points. In conclusion, because there was no settlement the Judge decided to do what other Judges have done before him & reverse Roger Goodell’s suspension on Tom Brady.
Now that it is all said & done it’s important to acknowledge that this is one of the most ridiculous storylines the NFL has ever produced. This is not the first time Roger Goodell has been taken to task in federal court over an egregious punishment that was deemed too harsh. Mind you, some of the other situations one could almost understand the reasoning behind the harsh punishments. For example, the suspensions of Ray Rice & Adrian Peterson were due to off the field violence towards their spouse & child, an obvious crime in real life. There was also a huge debate over the suspensions of select New Orleans Saints players during the infamous “Bountygate” scandal which involved intentionally injuring certain players on the opposing teams. Not exactly criminal but very inappropriate nonetheless in professional athletics. But to suspend Tom Brady & punish the New England Patriots organization over air pressure on footballs? Thats just silly. What makes this story even more crazy is that you can’t even look at it as a terribly bad thing. Although Goodell has once again made himself & the league look terrible from a PR standpoint, he also managed to keep the national spotlight on the NFL throughout the entire offseason which…..isn’t necessarily a bad thing. As the saying goes “Publicity can be terrible. But only if you don’t have any.” So in a twisted way, everybody wins. Tom Brady gets to play Game 1, Roger Goodell is still Commissioner of the NFL making his insane 8-figure salary, & the rest of America can now focus on the upcoming football season starting with the defending Super Bowl Champs taking on the Pittsburgh Steelers next week on Sept. 10th. Now hows that sound Brady?